Peter Nicol Wins Dayton Open Final
EBS Asset Management Dayton Open Squash Championship, Ohio, USAMen's final:
 Peter Nicol (ENG) d  Amr Shabana (EGY) 6, 11-10 (3-1), 2 (52m)
In a brilliant display of squash of the highest quality, England's Peter Nicol triumphed in straight games over Egypt's Amr Shabana in the men's final of the EBS Asset Management Dayton Open Squash Championship in Ohio, USA.
It was the former world number one's 49th PSA Tour trophy in his 14th year of title-winning prowess on the international circuit. The success also marks a magnificent 'mini comeback' for the 31-year-old world No3 who suffered a shock defeat in the first round of last week's Windy City Open in Chicago.
Both players were in fine form in the first game, played in front of a capacity crowd. It was nip and tuck until 7-6 when Nicol, who was leading, took command and reeled off four straight points to close out the game.
The second game featured electrifying squash with massive rallies throughout. The Englishman was 10-6 up when fellow left-hander Shabana started an all-out push to get back in the match. The former world champion won five straight points, many of them unbelievable rallies to the packed gallery, to take an 11-10 lead in the tie-break.
"The next point was, without a doubt, one of the most incredible rallies I've ever seen (and I've seen a fair amount of pro squash)," said tournament organiser Charlie Johnson. "Both players were attacking and retrieving, back and forth, both saving what seemed to be sure, absolute winning shots and continuing the rally, until a drop by Shabana that was retrieved by Nicol was just too much for Shabana.
"He tinned the re-drop in an act of surrender and the match was won right there. The crowd erupted in a standing ovation after that point, Nicol closed out that game and the third was a mere formality," added Johnson, after the favourite's 11-6 11-10 11-2 victory.
"Nicol showed why he was, and can be again, the No1 player in the world," Johnson concluded.
 Peter Nicol (ENG) d  Karim Darwish (EGY) 7, 6, 4
 Amr Shabana (EGY) d  Jonathon Power (CAN) 8, 6, 2-0 ret
 Linda Elriani (ENG) d  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 7, 5, 0
England's Peter Nicol will face Egypt's Amr Shabana in the men's final of the EBS Asset Management Dayton Open Squash Championship in Ohio, USA, after the event's top two seeds, both left-handers, eliminated their semi-final opposition in straightforward fashion.
Top seed Nicol was in fine form in the first semi-final against fourth seed Karim Darwish, the former world junior champion from Cairo. The world No3 was on the ball quickly throughout the entire match, creating numerous errors from the Egyptian. After 46 minutes, Nicol secured his 11-7 11-6 11-4 victory and a place in his 68th PSA Tour final.
"It was like seeing the Peter Nicol who dominated the tour at No1 for so long," noted match referee Julian Wellings.
"Maybe losing in the first round in Chicago made him eager to show he still has the talent to be at the top of the world rankings," observed tournament organiser Charlie Johnson.
By contrast, the other semi was a bit anti-climatic as fifth seed Jonathon Power started having back spasms early in the first game. The first game was close, but second seed Shabana poured on the pressure in the second and didn't let up, even though he knew Power was less than 100%. The artful Egyptian kept his focus on the task at hand - and, after a couple of points in the third game, Power was forced to retire - giving Shabana an 11-8 11-6 2-0 (ret.) victory and his second appearance in as PSA Tour final in a week.
In the final of the women's event, also an Anglo-Egyptian affair, English favourite Linda Elriani defeated second seed Omneya Abdel Kawy 9-7 9-5 9-0 to claim her second successive win over the Egyptian in a WISPA Wold Tour final in the US this month.
 Peter Nicol (ENG) d Simon Parke (ENG) 9, 13, (9), 8
 Karim Darwish (EGY) d  Mohammed Abbas (EGY) 5, 11-10 (6-4), 11-10 (3-1)
 Jonathon Power (CAN) d [Q] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 4, 3, 6
 Amr Shabana (EGY) d  Anthony Ricketts (AUS) 4, 8, 5
 Linda Elriani (ENG) d  Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) 4, (3), 6, 1
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) d  Kasey Brown (AUS) 1, (1), 3, 3
England's top seed Peter Nicol forced his way into the semi-finals of the EBS Asset Management Dayton Open Squash Championship in Ohio, USA - but not before being fully tested in a dazzling 66-minute quarter-final clash with unseeded compatriot Simon Parke.
Described by tournament organiser Charlie Johnson as 'the best match of the night', the battle featured a long and close first game to Nicol, with Parke showing his incredible retrieving skills and Nicol matching the talent. The crowd was often gasping at the incredible athletic display. What followed seemed to be a rest game for Parke in the second and then a long hard-fought third game that went Parke's way.
The underdog from Nottingham had chances in the fourth and they went back and forth until he went up 7-6 and then Nicol, the world No3 from London, seemed to raise it up a notch and whipped off three straight points to go up 9-7. Parke, a former world No3 now ranked 22 in the world, got the next point, but then Nicol closed it out in business-like fashion to win 11-9 11-3 9-11 11-8.
Nicol will face title-holder Karim Darwish for a place in the final. In a repeat of last year's final, the fourth-seeded Egyptian beat compatriot Mohammed Abbas, the eighth seed, 11-5 11-10 11-10.
The other semi-final will feature fifth seed Jonathon Power, of Canada, against Egypt's No2 seed Amr Shabana - both of whom are former world champions. Power ended Laurens Jan Anjema's second giant-killing run in two weeks when he beat the Dutch qualifier 11-4 11-3 11-6. Second seed Shabana also came through in straight games, defeating Australia's seventh seed Anthony Ricketts 11-4 11-8 11-5.
It will be Power and Shabana's first PSA Tour meeting for more than two years - and the first since the Egyptian claimed the World Open title in December 2003. Though Power was the victor in their five career meetings since 1999, this will be their first clash in which Shabana is seeded to succeed.
The top two seeds will meet in the final of the women's event after surviving four-game semi-finals. Favourite Linda Elriani, from England, beat France's third seed Isabelle Stoehr 9-4 3-9 9-6 9-1, while second seed Omneya Abdel Kawy, from Egypt, defeated Australia's No8 seed Kasey Brown 9-1 1-9 9-3 9-3. It will be the pair's second WISPA World Tour final meeting in a week, after contesting the climax of last week's Greenwich Open in Connecticut.